Syracuse Post-Standard - October 17, 1980

Brett Finally Needs Surgery


By The Associated Press


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Kansas City Royals third baseman George Brett rested in a hospital following hemorrhoid surgery Thursday, and his doctors said there was "a pretty good chance" he would play in Friday night's critical third game of the World Series.


Physicians said Brett, the key to Kansas City's offensive punch, would be released from the hospital Friday afternoon and would have to determine for himself whether he felt like playing Friday night.


Dr. Paul Meyer, the team physician, said the 20-minute surgical process to lance the hemorrhoid would relieve "a lot of the pain" that has dogged Brett since the condition was detected Saturday.


Meyer described the operation by proctologist Dr. John Heryer as "routine for this type of surgery."


The hemorrhoid had hobbled the Kansas City star as the Royals dropped the first two World Series games to the Philadelphia Phillies.


Meyer said Brett would be kept in seclusion and off his feet Thursday.


Meyer said that the prognosis for Brett was "good," adding "Dr. Heryer and myself feel there's a pretty good chance he'll play tomorrow (Friday) night."


Brett flirted with a .400 season before finishing with a league-leading .390, the best in the majors since 1941. He lashed two singles and walked in three trips to the plate in Wednesday night's 6-4 loss in hostile Veterans Stadium.


In obvious pain, he took himself out of the game in the sixth inning.


"George made the decision himself," said Meyer. "That was our agreement — that he would tell us if the pain was real bad."


"It's the worst pain I ever felt," said Brett. "I never felt so much discomfort. The more you move, the more it hurts. Everybody thought I would be better off in the hospital."


Brett's questionable status, plus the Phillies' 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Series, marked a stark contrast from a week ago when the Royals swept the New York Yankees in three straight and entered their first World Series as solid favorites.


"We're just not the same team when he's not out there," said first baseman Willie Aikens.


Brett first noticed the condition Saturday, the day after his three-run home run off Rich Gossage powered the Royals to a 4-2 victory in the deciding game of the American League Championship Series. The pain became intense after the World Series opener Tuesday night.


Brett avoided a welcoming crowd when the Royals returned to Kansas


City in the pre-dawn hours Thursday. He departed though a mechanic's entrance to the flight ramp at Kansas City International Airport and went directly to the hospital.

Could This Series Become Worst Ever?


By Jim Kelly


PHILADELPHIA - The worst World Series ever played, by common consent, was the 1945 non-classic between the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers. The cast included a passel of overage minor leaguers, 4Fs unfit for military service, to say nothing of baseball, and a sprinkling of overweight, out-of-breath returning veterans who had not played a game of hardball in five years and were hard put to beat out home runs.


Something like 30 of the 50 players who took part in that fall non-classic were never to play another game of baseball in the major leagues ever. Some never played another game anywhere. The teams staggered to a seven-game finish. Thirty-eight guys appeared in one game saw 15 runs scored, 25 hits and 4 errors. There were 119 hits in the series, 61 runs and best pitcher in it had an ERA of 6.10. One team had 16 doubles to give you an idea of the quality of the outfielding. The other team had 10.


There were 14 bases on balls in one game and 39 in the Series. Fifteen guys struck out in one game and 13 in another and 70 in the Series. The scores were, like, 9-0, 8-4, 8-7 and 9-3. There were 103 left on base, 20 apiece in the last two games.


This Series has a chance to be worse.


You want to talk about pitching? The Series is only two games old and already they've hit four home runs. You want to talk about base running? One guy came strolling around third on a hit to left and came into home standing up and slowing down. And the catcher almost missed him. Another guy took off for second with one out and his club down 4-0. You want to talk about catching? He made it.


Three veteran infielders spent so much time in a rundown play that a runner on third scored without a throw while they were doing it. And any manager in baseball will give up a run to get an out. That way, you’d get 27 of them a game.


And that was only Tuesday’s game. In Wednesday’s game, the following took place:

·          Neither team could hold a lead, as usual.

·          A batter swung at a wild pitch and since it was strike three, he got to first base on a strikeout.

·          There were five rally-killing double plays.

·          The Kansas City Royals struck out 12 times and left 11 runners on base.

·          Kansas City players got picked off base twice, but one time Phillies first baseman Pete Rose had to let the trapped runner go to second unmolested. He was afraid to throw the ball for fear the runner on third would take off for the plate.

·          A backup catcher and reserve outfielder who had gone to bat only 110 times during the season delivered the key hits.

·          The Series’ best player, George Brett, had to leave the game for a complaint more commonly associated with truck driving, not third base.

·          The winning pitcher did not choose to come to the press interview, ignoring a Series tradition but keeping a more churlish tradition of his own.

·          The winning manager complained the baseballs were “as slick as ice” and unthrowable for his pitcher who requires rough balls for sliders.

·          The game, as usual, lasted over three hours.


It was a script more suited for a Follies than a Series. The hero of Game 2 was a guy nobody wanted at the start of the season. Front offices were dnmping truokloads of money at the doorsteps of .500 pitchers, but Delbert Bernard Unser came for carfare.


Delbert is the type of player baseball refers to as "well-traveled." English translation: Nobody begs him to stay. Del Unser played with the old Washington Senators, went to Cleveland, to the Phillies, Montreal, the New York Mets and then back to the Phils again this season. He chopped a key double down the wrong field (left) line in the eighth to drive in the third run to make the score 4-3 and scored the tying run moments later.


For once, this is a contest of Cinderella vs. Cinderella. Each of these teams was frustrated three times in championship playoffs, left their fans standing on tiptoe and then failed to kiss them.


It would appear Kansas City is still sitting by the fire. Their feet are too big for the slipper. Their World Series coach still looks like a pumpkin and the horses still look strangely like mice. They're like a guy who has planned and struggled all his life for his big moment and when it comes his pants split and he can't remember his lines.


The Series may not come up to the level of futility of the 1945 fiasco simply because it won't last long enough. Kansas City has got all the comedy lines and the Phillies have the straight lines. Maybe the Yankees were doing everybody a favor all those years they stopped Kansas City from going to the World Series. And the biggest favor was to Kansas City. Who was to stand up there and hear everybody laugh when you think you’re doing Hamlet?  

Green Brought Phils Together


By Ralph Bernstein, AP Sports Writer


KANSAS CITY (AP) - Dallas Green might best be described as the reluctant dragon.


The handsome 6-foot, 5-inch manager of the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies didn't want the job.


In fact, he. still doesn't want it.


Green, however, is a 25-year career man with the Phillies, a personal friend of owner Ruly Carpenter, a soldier who does what he's asked.


He was asked in the final month of the 1979 season to succeed Danny Qzark as manager of the Phillies, leave his post as director of the farm system, go down in the dugout and see why some of the best talent in baseball wasn't producing.


Green took the assignment. He discovered he had a team used to having its own way. The tail was wagging the dog.


The talent was there, but togetherness was lacking. There was too much "I" and not enough "We."


The coming of Green was a shock to the troops. The change from the do-as-you- please Ozark to a rough-and-tumble guy whose whisper was a scream almost produced a palace revolution.


Green insists that he wasn't on any ego trip. All he wanted was a winning effort from players among the highest salaried in baseball.


Green didn't carry any eye-opening credentials himself as a major league player. He was a so-so pitcher from 1955 through 1967, a major league lifetime record of 20-22 for 185 games.


He did, however, bring with him a knowledge of the game, acquired as a player, minor league manager, coach, an assistant and finally director of the minor league system.


He also was the first Phillies manager in years with absolute authority to to make stick the rules he set down. No more running over the manager's head to Carpenter when a player didn't get his way.


Green took the job with the understanding that Carpenter, almost a father-like image to his players, would turn the other cheek when he saw his children being spanked.


When he gathered his team in spring training last March, Green wasted no time letting the players know the party was over.


"You gotta stop being so cool. Get that through your heads. If you don't you'll get so buried it isn't going to be funny. Get off your rears. You tell everybody you can do it (win) but you give up," Green admonished.


It's not every manager that infers his team has some quitters. Green told them he wouldn't stand for any more nonsense, that he wanted a "We" team, not an "I."


Many of the players were bitter over Green's high-handed tactics. They thought he would back off, but if anything he got tougher.

K.C.’s Gale At Last Comes Off Bench


By Mike Tully, AP Sports Writer


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (UPI) - For the second time in this World Series, a young right-hander who hasn't pitched in two weeks will find the ball in his palm after the National Anthem.


Kansas City's Rich Gale, 13-9, is scheduled to oppose Dick Ruthven, 17- 10, in Game 3 Friday night. His job is clear: keep the Philadelphia Phillies, already ahead 2-0, from continuing toward one of the most unlikely routs in Series history.


The weather forecast called for a chance of scattered light showers with temperatures in the 50s for the first World Series game ever played in Kansas City.


Gale, 26, generates a good fastball from his 6-foot-7, 225-pound frame and also throws a curve and slider, but his appearance in such a key game amounts to a gamble on the part of manager Jim Frey.


For one thing, Gale has been plagued with tendinitis in his pitching shoulder. Second, he has not pitched since throwing four shutout innings against Minnesota on Oct. 5. Finally, his hard stuff may look very appealing to the Phillies, a club that likes fastballs.


"I’m gonna try to negate their power," Gale said. "But I'm still a power pitcher."


In Game 1, Philadelphia manager Dallas Green used Bob Walk, 23, who had not pitched since Oct. 2. Walk struggled for three innings and was knocked out in the eighth, but earned the victory.


"If you can block out all the external factors," Walk said, "it's the same game you've been playing all year. You're still throwing from 60 feet, 6 inches. It's really no different."


Gale, however, sits in a more precarious position than Walk did. Even with a loss in the opener, the Phillies would still have had time to maneuver. If Gale fails, the Royals will have no such luxury.


No team has ever rebounded from a 3-0 deficit to win a World Series.


"I don't expect to go nine innings," Gale said. "But that's because I haven't pitched in such a long time. But I feel fine, as good as ever."